THE people of Brechin and the surrounding district have been left reeling by the sudden death of local reporter Steve Mitchell at the age of 42.
The man who had his finger very much on the pulse when it came to the stories that mattered most to the community collapsed and died at his home in Wards Road, Brechin on Sunday morning.
“We have all been left stunned by this devastating news,” explains Brechiner editor Alan Ducat.
“Steve’s untimely death has robbed the local community of a man who knew Brechin and its people inside out.
“He was the old fashioned reporter - the one that would get out and about, meet the people and get the story.
“He had a real passion for the city and, in particular, its football club, and it shone in what he wrote for the Brechiner week in, week out.
“He was a man you could rely on to get the job done.
“He appreciated the value of nearby Stracathro Hospital to the community - having been diagnosed with diabetes at the age of two and having mastered the art of injecting himself by the time he went to primary school - and was at the forefront of the successful campaign to save the NHS facility from the axe.
“His passion for football and his beloved Brechin City knew no bounds and, in recent weeks, he was literally willing them into the Scottish first division.
“From the text messages I received on Saturday afternoon he was thrilled to bits that Brechin had reached the final of the promotion play-offs after condemning Cowdenbeath to the second division.
“Sadly, he won’t be around to see that final - but hopefully the team can go that extra mile against a very good Ayr United side over two legs and make his dream come true.
“I would like to think he is up there somewhere kicking every ball over the 180 minutes at Somerset Park and then the Glebe.”
Steve was born and brought up in Brechin. and educated at Andover Primary School and Brechin High School.
His first job was as a porter at Stracathro Hospital but then he went into further education to pursue a career as a journalist.
He then secured a job at the Brechin Advertiser, the first of two spells with the local newspaper.
In between, he worked in PR in Aberdeen and with the job centre in Dundee.
But Steve was keen to return to reporting and snapped up the chance to rejoin the Brechin Advertiser four years ago.
He loved his sport and for many years he played cricket for the local club. Indeed, he was threatening to dig out the whites and get back in action this summer.
His love of football saw him get involved with Brechin City at the age of 14, and until two years ago he put the club programme together, also serving on the committee for a ten-year spell.
Even after stepping down from the committee he continued to lend his support to the club, continuing as a season-ticket holder and attending many of the fund-raising events.
Indeed, only recently he was one of a band of committee members and supporters who undertook a sponsored walk from Forfar to Brechin to raise money for the club and Cancer Research.
Steve was also a committed family man. He married partner Kymm in June of last year, and was father to four daughters, Lauren (19), Ashley (17), Carly (13) and Ellie (nine), also step-dad to Kymm’s two sons, Glen (11) and Charlie (eight).